+ What is an American Sign Language/English interpreter?

An ASL/English interpreter is a hearing individual who has been trained by an accredited post secondary program in North America. This training includes how to work in 2 languages (ASL/English) at the same time, features of Deaf culture, working in teams of interpreters, and impartiality in settings where conflicting feelings or opinions may occur. See the Association of Visual Language Interpreters of Canada (AVLIC) Code of Ethics.

+ Why do I need 2+ interpreters?

Interpreting simultaneously in 2 languages is very demanding on the human brain. Add the physical action of producing American Sign Language and an interpreter can become fatigued while working without a break. A team interpreter has a supporting role while the active interpreter is interpreting. Traditionally we alternate interpreters to provide each other cognitive breaks.

+ What information should I have available when attempting book an interpreter?

In your introductory email we need to know

  • Time of the Event and duration of the event
  • Intersection or exact address of the event
  • Nature of the event (Examples: Accessibility seminar with the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario and the Premier, LGBTQ wedding, lawnmower operator training, prison visit, puppy training, café school training, health and wellness conference etc.
  • Audience (What does everybody in the room have in common)

+ Why is it so difficult to schedule an ASL/English interpreter?

Scheduling interpreters is difficult because there are several factors to consider for us when we accept an assignment.

  • We need to make sure an assignment is suitable for us to represent all parties accurately which is determined by our knowledge base of certain subjects, and not only if we are available at the requested time.

  • Travelling from one assignment to the next in Toronto could come with delays, traffic, etc. We are committed to providing a professional service at all times and arriving on time and ready is critical to us.

  • There is a very low supply of interpreters and the demand could out weigh the supply based on the above factors.
  • Most interpreters aim for consistent and reliable work, therefore booking during regular business hours could conflict with ongoing work at school which operates during most business hours.

+ Why is it my responsibility to provide and pay for an interpreter?

  • Under the Canadian Human Rights Act it is illegal to discriminate against somebody because of their disability. Discrimination could include denying the right to communication.
  • In Section 1 Part 2 of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) it reads In this Act, “accessibility standard” means an accessibility standard made by regulation under section 6; “barrier” means anything that prevents a person with a disability from fully participating in all aspects of society because of his or her disability, including a physical barrier, an architectural barrier, an information or communications barrier, an attitudinal barrier, a technological barrier, a policy or a practice.

+ Once an interpreter is booked, what best practices are there to make sure we receive the best interpretation possible?

Sending us materials that will help us understand all information to be shared during your event. Keep in mind there is a good chance our interpreter has not met any of the individuals invited and does not know very much about the topic. Slide decks, FAQ, a list of popular acronyms or language unique to your field is very helpful when provided well in advance of your event. Furthermore any event invite that has been sent to parties you wish to include will also help us understand the setting you have requested us for.

+ How far in advance should I book an interpreter?

• The more advanced notice we have the better. 2-3 weeks is the preferred minimum but we may be able to accommodate less in unique situations.

+ Is there any language factors from the Deaf person’s perspective that are relevant to booking an interpreter?

• Yes. If the Deaf individual has any language challenges such as being a newcomer to Canada, has mobility challenges, or mental health issues, it may be required to book a Deaf Interpreter who is a trained expert on communicating with Deaf individuals who may not communicate in clear American Sign Language.

+ What are the TSLIS Terms of Service for Clients?

See Our Terms of Service